Drunks & Fanatics - 22. The Starting Light

Moments before the battle at the inn began, several short and shrouded figures were sneaking along the outside of Crimsonvale’s wall. All but part of their green faces and beady eyes were covered in dark cloth and leather, long hoods covering their hair and ears as they skulked in the shadows. Soon enough, they come across one of Crimsonvale’s sewer drains with a portcullis and locked iron door guarding the entrance. Without hesitation, all but one of the goblins form a circle around the locked entrance to keep watch while the remainder moves up to the door and works on getting it open.

Those keeping watch move their heads from left to right, shifting their eyes from side to side in the darkness as they wait. Little tinks and clinks of metal can be heard from the door as the moment passes by before the lock loudly clunks open. The one who opened the door gently pushes it open, it creaks with a slow but sharp metal screech, and moves slightly ahead. Seeing nothing in the immediate area of concern, the goblin returns to the door.

“Iz clear, move.”

Slowly, the goblins move backwards towards the open door. One by one, they slowly disappear into the sewers before closing the door behind them. Keeping an eye on their surroundings, they keep close to the walls and carefully peek around corners before moving.

As they move, a pair of goblins speak up excitedly.

“We’z on mission, finally. Break from guarding Boss’s ‘big gun’.”

“Yes, but new toyz too. Very excited to use.”

Kegs speaks up, “Quiet you two.”

The squad of goblins comes to a stop behind a corner as Kegs peeks around their next corner. Spotting a ladder that leads up and out of the sewers with moonlight shining down through the grate that covers it, he looks for any issues that might be near it. Not seeing any, Kegs signals with his hand for the other goblins to follow and they take positions on the walls near the ladder. Keeping an eye out for any problems.

Going around the squad, the goblins all report that the coast is clear and continue to watch while Kegs pulls out four stones held together by a ring. On each of the stones is a goblin’s smiling face engraved into it and Kegs speaks to them.

“Iz Kegs, at in-point. Fang’lins, Tooth’lins, Claw’lins, report.”

“Fang’lins’ Fang, at in-point. No izzues.”

“Claw’lins’ Claw, at in-point. Guards overhead, cannot move up. Holding.”

“Understood Claw’lins’ Claw, let know if zituation change.”

However, the Tooth’lins leader fails to report in immediately. Kegs waits a short while before asking again.

“Tooth’lins, report.”

The silence continues, no response yet.

“Tooth’lins, report. Do you’z need aid?”

Still no response. And then the leader of the Tooth’lins responds.

“Tooth’lins’ Tooth, waz fightin’. Patrol outside of wall spotted uz, dealt with. Kept to blades. On way to in-point.”

With all teams accounted for, Kegs gives the next set of orders.

“Lead’lins moving to surface. Fang’lins, continue infiltration. Claw’lins, continue to hold until guardz move. Tooth’lins, report if any other izzues.”

“Understood, Fang’lins moving.”

“Continue hold, Claw’lins watching.”

“Tooth’lins moving, will report izzues.”

Putting away the stones for now, Kegs holds his hand high and moves it in small circles. “Lead’lins, rally. We go top-zide.”

The goblins gather around the ladder, keeping watch at all possible ways leading to it. Kegs taps the one who unlocked the door earlier and signals for him to move up the ladder. Following orders, the scout quietly climbs up the metal ladder. Small bits of dirt fall from the ladder accompanied with the low rumbling of disturbed metal as the scout gently raises the metal grate so he can see what’s going on in the streets. The metal groans and grinds on the cobblestone street as it’s raised.

Not seeing anything of note, the scout whispers to his comrades. “Iz clear.”

Following this, the scout lifts the metal grate up and sets it aside on the street. Staying crouched, he moves up and out of the hole, staying near it the entire time as his fellow Lead’lins climb up the ladder one by one. The scout reaching down and helping them out and guiding them before pointing to the nearest and darkest wall. Kegs is last to come out and regroups with his squadmates while the scout puts the grate back in place before following.

Now out of the sewers, Kegs pulls the stones out again. “Lead’lins in streetz, report.”

“Fang’lins’ Fang, in streetz. Waiting for signal.”

“Tooth’lins’ Tooth, in streetz. Waiting for signal.”

“Claw’lins’ Claw, holding. Guards not moved. Move to new in-point?”

Kegs doesn’t respond, thinking for a moment. “No, continue hold. Remember who Boss is, guards will move.”

“Claw’lins hold. Will do gear check.”

“All other goblins, do gear check while wait for signal.”

Kegs puts the stones away in one of his pouches while he watches the other goblins go about their weapons and tools. Each one pulling out and inspecting their knives and individual guns. Checking the sharpness of their blades before putting them away. However, the firearms they pull out all look like they’ll do more damage to the user than to the enemy with all things considered. One goblin has a four-barrel shotgun that seems it’d send the goblin flying backwards with a single pull of the trigger. Another pieces together a revolver-rifle, snapping the stock, receiver, and barrel together with a twist and click.

Taking out his knife, Kegs inspects it for any possible damages or bluntness. It’s a fairly long knife that curves toward or away from him depending on how he grips it. The tip is akin to a bird’s beak made of patterned steel. It looks more than effective and he puts it away and takes a look at his two pistols next. The first is a revolver with a second ring beneath the trigger guard for his middle finger. With a pull of his middle finger the barrel rotates, ready to fire without pulling the hammer back every time. The second pistol is a muzzle-loaded firearm with a slot in the top, ready to pop open and eject the brass after each shot.

The Leadlins’ finish the clicking and clanking of their equipment, each one also recounting their ammunition quickly, before quieting down. All of them ready to turn this city into a burning battlefield of smoke and sulfur at the drop of a hat. But none move yet, all awaiting the signal to begin. Staying silent in the darkness as insects buzz around light fixtures and the wind blows a gentle breeze through the city. Then an explosion sounds off from deeper in the city, and Kegs’s lips start to curl into a sinister smile.

One of the newer members of the Lead’lins whispers, “Was that signal?”

“No, but should be soon,” responded Kegs.

Kegs then hears a muffled sound coming from his belt pouch and pulls out the stones. It’s the Claw’lins’ leader reporting in.

“Claw’lins’ Claw, reporting! Claw’lins’ Claw, reporting!”

“Iz Kegs, speak Claw.”

“Boom distracted guards, move top-zide.”

“Good. Claw’lins, do gear check moment you in streetz.”

“Claw’lins will do. Moving now.”

Kegs lowers the stones, listening for any other changes to the scene as the explosion fades to nothingness. Soon enough, the silence stops and the sounds of combat begin with several smaller booms going off. Small flames shining in the distance like red stars flying down from the rooftops as faint cries of pain and the crunching of metal can be heard.

One of the Lead’lins impatiently asks if it’s time to move, antsy and excited to go on a killing spree. “Start now? Tired of waiting, only killed bears and deer on hill while guarding Boss’s ‘big gun’.”

Kegs responds, “Wait little longer, then kill.”

The goblins continue to wait, and then the explosions come to a halt. The fighting seeming to have come to an end, and the Lead’lins all hold their breaths in anticipation. Kegs continuing to watch the rooftops. And then comes the signal, a bright red flare screaming through the sky.

Kegs raises the stones to his mouth again. “Mission to kill ‘the cult-zits’ begin on green light. Have some discreztion.”

Fang speaks up, “Include children?”

Kegs snickers devilishly before responding, “Ezpecially children.”

There’s a collective evil laugh from all the goblins in all of the squads as Kegs loads a round into one of his pistols and raises it to the sky. Pulling the trigger, he shoots a bright green flare and the mission to exterminate the cultists begins.